This is a treadmill job! Iím not getting anywhere with it. I should be pulling a bigger salary. This pay doesnít come close to what I have to risk each day. Itís not worth all this responsibility for just a pittance in my pocket. One tiny slip and Iím out of a job Ė lose a prisoner and Iím dead!
Iíd love to move the family to Italy. I hear the guards in Rome get double the pay that one receives here in Philippi. My nagging wife could get her dream villa, and her spoiled children could go to the finest schools in the world. But that will never happen . . . not with my luck.
On top of everything, Iím put in charge of two crazy men Ė accused of disturbing the peace. From what I hear, they were just minding their own business Ė some religious meetings Ė and the slave of the soothsayers started the whole thing. That girl gives me the shivers, something strange about her. Anyway, she started yelling at these newcomers. They prayed to their God and the girl had some kind of fit. When she awoke, she was as sane as any other girl in this town.
Her masters werenít too happy. They had no gift of seeing the future. It was the girl who gave them their power, and now she was as ordinary as they were. My! Werenít they mad! They pulled those newcomers to the magistrates and made up all kind of lies about them Ė calling them rebels and thieves and trouble-makers.
Guess who has the problem now. Me!
I donít think these men are really dangerous, but if they got out . . . not only would the soothsayers be angry at me, but I could lose my head over being negligent. I ordered them to be beaten and put in the innermost cell Ė just to be sure. After I locked their cell, I tucked the keychain in my shirt. No one was going to pull any escape plan over me. Hopefully it will all be over at the trial and wonít be my responsibility anymore.
I better make my night rounds before turning in for the night. Iíve got a full jail tonight Ė mostly drunks and robbers. Thereís one murderer and, of course, the two trouble-makers. You wonít believe what theyíre doing now. Theyíre singing Ė singing! I wouldnít be singing if I was accused of something I didnít do, been beaten raw, and locked in a putrid cold jail. Theyíre crazy Ė plain crazy!
I canít sleep. Maybe itís the thunderstorm, maybe itís the singing, or maybe itís because I feel guilty about treating them so harshly. Deep down, I donít think they deserve it. Hopefully, the magistrate will see it the same way and send them on their way and everything will go on as normal around here.
WHAT?! The world is shaking like dice in a gamblerís fist. EVERYBODY GET OUT OF THE HOUSE! THE WALLS ARE CRUMBLING! Oh no! The jail house! Iíve got to check on the prisoners! If anything happens to them, Iím in big trouble. I can barely walk. I crawl on my hands and knees over the heaving and rolling ground! Trees are falling. Houses are tumbling. I can see the corner of the jail house is broken. Iím almost there when the earth quiets.
I look up from where I am lying to see the open door of the jail. My heart sinks. Theyíve escaped! They must have. I would have run if I was a prisoner and had a chance to get away. Iím a dead man! Iíll be executed for sure! Iíd rather do it myself. Standing up, I pull my sword from its sheaf to get it over with. I close my eyes and hold my breath.
ďStop! Stop! Donít harm yourself!Ē
I open my eyes. Itís one of the strangers. I drop my arm.
ďWeíre all here.Ē
What?! It canít be! I get a lantern to investigate. Itís true! They are all there Ė all of them, even the murderer. Why didnít they escape when they had the chance? Thereís something strange going on here Ė something good. It has to do with these men. Maybe their religion is greater than I thought. Maybe they have the key to change people. Maybe they can change me.
I beg at their feet. ďSirs, what must I do to be saved?Ē
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